Monday, 25 February 2013

No 8/13 Santiago to Cienfuegos

Hi from Clare,                                   Saturday 23rd February 2013

Last week we feasted on Lobster, this week we have been feasting on succulent fish thanks to the local deep sea fishermen
We haven't done any land travel this week; we are just enjoying travelling between Cays along the south coast of Cuba. We are on a bank with an average water depth around 17 metres which provides flat sailing and very calm anchorages. The weather has been terrific with sparkling days and warm nights. This week we have sailed 80 miles from Cayo Media Luna to Cayo Grenada to Cayo Algodon Grande and we are now at Cayo Cuervo.
We finished off last week at Cayo Media Luna where we stayed for three nights while a blow came through. Angela and Tony on 'Tana Vika' left a day ahead of us and so we were solo for two days before we caught up again. We sailed into Cayo Grenada on Tuesday and immediately received our first fish dinner. A French catamaran was already anchored and the owner came over with some fish the local fisherman had given him. His freezer was already full so we became the happy recipients. We don't know what sort of fish it was but it was good eating and much appreciated as we ran out of meat long ago.

The following day we sailed to Cayo Algodon Grande which is surrounded by mangroves and is one of the loveliest anchorages we have ever seen. We could get to the beach on the other side by taking the dinghy up through the mangroves to a narrow strip of island. There is a deserted resort which is tumbling down but the trees once planted are now providing wonderful shade for the beach. The aqua water, white sand and palm trees is an impressive sight. We had rejoined Angela and Tony on 'Tana Vika' and we spent a leisurely afternoon poking around the beach, reading and having a snooze in the shade. Before we arrived Angela had traded for some snapper and so dinner was covered.

Through the mangrovves to the beach

The four of us were on Eye Candy having a sun downer when the fishermen returned. A small '20 foot long and three Cubans wide' fishing boat came over and tied up to us. The boat was laden down with a huge ice chest, fuel and water drums, various crates and an open fire for cooking. The safety rings and three bed rolls were on the roof. The fishermen produced four large fish which we exchanged for a hip flask of rum, a packet of disposable razors and some hand cream. We gave one of the fish to 'Tana Vika' and we still have enough for six meals. The three guys in the fishing boat then proceeded to pass around the rum bottle before cooking their dinner. I gave them half a dozen chocolate chip biscuits and three cans of coke for dessert and they responded with a bunch of bananas. At one stage we thought they might stay tied up for the night but around 9pm they let go and anchored out.

Our fishermen friends

Andrew had showed them his new fishing spear and between their limited English and our limited Spanish we had a very lively conversation about lobsters with lots of smiling and OK signs. However something got lost in translation as the following morning much to our surprise two of the three came over to pick Andrew up for a day's spear fishing. We think perhaps the weight of four men would have sunk the boat. We declined their very generous offer and after lots of "muchas gracias" we up anchored and bid a hasty retreat; more Spanish lessons required.

Andrew has fashioned a viewing bucket. We found the flat bottomed bucket on a beach in the Bahamas and we bought a piece of Perspex to fit the bottom. Tony on 'Tana Vika' has a jig saw and so we are now in business. It is very effective and we are having fun checking out coral reefs, sunken fishing vessels and other obstacles in our anchorage.
This is a second day in Cayo Cuevro. There are three or four trawlers and various fishing boats that come in each night. Tony and Angela went over to one of the Trawlers and with a bottle of rum a few cans of coke came away with a huge bag of fresh prawns. They spent a few hours last night cleaning, cooking and storing them in their freezer. We have plenty of fish and so we will give the prawns a miss - can't believe I said that!

Tomorrow we will go to the Cays on the outer reef where we hope to find clear water and some fishing. Then we will head for Casilda where we plan to hire a car and travel to Trinidad which is a World Heritage Site with much to see.

Love Candy xx

At 4:24 PM24/02/2013 (utc) our position was 20°48.89'N 078°56.89'W

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